Boulder County Approves New Oil And Gas Drilling Rules

March 24, 2017

The Boulder County commissioners have adopted new land-use regulations for oil and gas development, but it wasn't clear whether they would lift a moratorium on drilling that prompted a lawsuit by the attorney general.

The rules approved Thursday cover unincorporated parts of the county.

Among other things, they ask drillers to provide detailed plans and suggest alternative well locations. They also require that surrounding landowners be notified and call for neighborhood meetings and hearings.

The county imposed a drilling moratorium while it updated the rules. That prompted Attorney General Cynthia Coffman to file suit, citing a state Supreme Court ruling that said only the state can regulate the industry.

The county asked a judge to dismiss the suit, noting the moratorium is scheduled to expire on May 1.

Advocates for the oil and gas industry say Boulder County overstepped its authority with new development rules. 

For instance, the county wants to limit the location of wells. The industry group says that’s something only the state can decide.

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